Freemasons: Lodge "Zukunft", Bratislava/ Vienna and Grand Lodge Vienna

An inquiry by the "Grand Lodge of Austria" in 2013 triggered an extensive search for illegally acquired titles from Freemasons' libraries. With the aid of partly preserved acquisition registers and by searching the holdings of Masonica, finally a total of 459 titles of Masonic literature could be ascertained. They had come to the library through a swap transaction with the SS school "Haus Wewelsburg" in the years 1937/ 38. The castle Wewelsburg in Westphalia was initially intended to be used as "Reichsführerschule". Later, it was planned to create a central place there for the ideological self-reassurance for members of the SS. However, the implementation of these plans remained incomplete.

In the course of this transaction with the Wewelsburg, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek had received books from robbed Freemasons' libraries from the Reich Main Security Office in Berlin in return for duplicates from its own holdings. The previous owners of these works are lodges from the entire German language area. All works can be allocated on the basis of a swap or donor number "13360" entered in the books. The holdings were catalogued in their entirety in 2015 and could be digitized with the aid of funding by the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Culture, Science and the Arts.

Forming part of these holdings, a total of 27 books from Austrian Freemasons' libraries could be ascertained. 23 volumes bear ownership notes of the "Loge der Zukunft", which was domiciled in Bratislava before 1918. Four items bear the stamp of the library of the "Großloge von Wien".

Loge der Zukunft
Großloge von Wien

The "Grand Lodge of Vienna" was abolished in the course of persecution by the National Socialists in 1938. It was re-established in the year 1945 and today bears the name "Großloge von Österreich" (Grand Lodge of Austria). It acts as an umbrella organisation of currently 75 Freemasons' lodges in overall Austria and in addition is the legal successor organisation of all lodges that were members of its umbrella organisation prior to 1938, but were not set up again after 1945. The legally independent lodge "Loge Zukunft" in Vienna is also a member of the "Grand Lodge of Austria".

Grand Lodge of Austria

On 16 September 2016 these 27 books were handed to Dr. Georg Semler, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Austria, and to HR Dr. Josef Stöger, Worshipful Master of the Lodge "Zukunft" in the house of the Grand Lodge in Vienna.

Autumn 2016: Munich restitutes Freemasons' books to Vienna  (source: Freemason Wiki)

The restituted titles continue to be shown in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue. They have been provided with a note on their provenance. It can be searched by inputting "BSB-Provenienz: Bibliothek der Großloge von Wien" or "BSB-Provenienz: Bibliothek der Zukunft" by using the "Einfache Suche" search option in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue. They have been digitized with the permission of the owners and are accessible online, provided that they are copyright-free.

BSB-Provenienz: Bibliothek der Großloge von Wien  (display in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue)
BSB-Provenienz: Bibliothek der Zukunft  (display in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue)

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